James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Houston Rockets figure into this: When Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors in 2016, there were two sides to the reaction. The first side represented the anguished NBA fan. The NBA no longer would be based around parity. For nearly three seasons, this rang true.
The second side of the coin understood what enticed Durant to join forces in the Bay Area. The Warriors played the game the right way and coached in a similar vein. For such a prodigious scorer and student of the game, the move made sense in theory.
Now Kevin Durant has teamed up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, and after the stories written about his departure from Golden State, it makes sense why. Durant wants to be the focal point again. The Nets system will revolve around him and Kyrie, not the other way around as it did with Golden State.
But what would happen if you add a third gifted scorer to the table? It can add up on paper, but it would all depend on who that third scorer is. The Brooklyn Nets and James Harden from the Houston Rockets wanted to experiment with the super-team idea. Three ball dominant scorers who can get a basket at ease could terrorize the NBA. The definition of your-turn-my-turn offense.
However, It has fell through, for now. And maybe that is where it should remain.
Team chemistry and having a robust infrastructure within the organization matters. We all have worked with, sat in class, or played sports with high-maintenance people. Usually, you deal with them in spurts, and if it is two of them, you pick and choose your battles in terms of giving them attention.
But three high-maintenance people in a small setting? That can be a recipe for disaster. And if it does not harm the group psyche, it can play out negatively with the three high-maintenance people. Kyrie Irving has flamed out of two places (Cleveland, Boston) that was a perfect set up for him to succeed. Kevin Durant understandably left Oklahoma City but decided to leave Golden State. The latter had the talent, coaching, and front office infrastructure for Durant to succeed for years to come. But like Kyrie, it was not enough. The common reason for both? Not enough satisfied them and their ego. Championships needed to come on their terms.
James Harden, as he considers the Nets, is in a similar predicament that Durant faced in Oklahoma. He has been the face of the franchise for some years, but playoff disappointment has occurred throughout. It is understandable why he would want to abandon ship. But choosing WHERE you go is the most important thing. Harden has a similar, needy personality as Irving and Durant. At age 31, he should go where he can learn new ways to win. Miami or even Milwaukee would be good fits because their culture could bring new life to Harden.
But the Nets? Not the best option for both parties.
Irving and Durant are already three much as it is for new Nets coach Steve Nash. Remember: Irving has already stated the Nets coaching duties will be a collaborative effort. At this point in his career, does Harden want to go through something like that?
Harden has been through a lot, playing a lot of ball-dominant basketball. It has gotten him accolades and a sure-fire Hall of Fame ballot. But he needs a different scenery and team climate. A place that is strong in team culture and a coaching staff with experience. With strong team culture and a coaching staff that can expand his basketball IQ, they could help Harden master the little things it takes to win titles. Simply, the Nets are just too risky. Sure, Nash has great basketball intellect, and Durant and Irving will take a load off. It is only for what it is worth; it is not an experiment neither side should explore.
Let Nash work out the kinks of a first-time coach. Also, let Irving and Durant feel each other out as a super-duo. Harden may benefit well from new Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas. It is a bet he will bring a lot of concepts from the Dallas Mavericks record-setting offense. So maybe he should give Houston a chance to start. But whatever happens, both the Nets and Harden should continue to leave the idea of a super-team alone-forever.